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Cheryl Vienna makes a splash at Sundance festival


Appearing in ‘FREAKY TALES’

The Sundance Film Festival, which ended this week, celebrated its 46th year and took in  17,435 entries with only 91 projects selected for viewing as feature films. The festival kicked off this year in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah. The festival brought with it many new feature films, one being FREAKY TALES. The film brought with it a new breakout actress set to make waves in Hollywood. Cheryl Vienna made her film debut in the independent film written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. It stars Pedro Pascal, Ben Mendelsohn, and Jay Ellis. 

The Sundance Film Festival, formerly known as the Utah/US Film Festival and US Film and Video Festival began in 1978 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is organized by the Sundance Institute. The festival was an effort to attract more filmmakers to Utah. The Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization that is committed to the development of artists and provides creative and financial support to aspiring filmmakers, directors, producers, film composers, screenwriters, playwrights, and theatre artists. The festival was not always as prolific as it is now. Robert Redford himself passed out flyers promoting the festival during the 1970’s. Originally a venue for low-profile and small-budget films, the Sundance Film Festival has now evolved into a media extravaganza of sorts, complete with luxury lounges, celebrities, and red carpets. 

The Sundance Film Festival is a gathering to showcase independent feature films and acts as a way for people in the film industry to gain notoriety for the films. The Sundance Film Festival lasts for a total of ten days and requires the purchase of a ticket to attend. Previous well-known international and independent films showcased at the festival include: John Schlesinger’s “The Falcon and the Snowman,” Robert Rosenberg and Greta Schiller’s “Before Stonewall,” William Duke’s “The Killing Floor,” John Sayles’s Brother “From Another Planet” and Roland Joffe’s “The Killing Fields.”

“FREAKY TALES” was the premier film for the Sundance Film Festival and ran until the 28 of January. FREAKY TALES is set in Oakland, in 1987, Cheryl plays Jay Ellis’s (Sleepy Floyd) mother in FREAKY TALES. The film details four interconnected stories. Cheryl Vienna is a native of Indianapolis, Ind. Vienna has always displayed a love for art and creative endeavors. Being a saxophone player, she at one point thought she might be part of a band or play professionally. Vienna attended an acting class as a child and it was there that her soon-to-be modeling career showcased its talent. Winning “Best Commercial Smile” and being naturally tall, Vienna was confident in her ability to model and be in front of a camera in some capacity. In addition to art, Vienna had a love of fashion. She went on to attend Purdue University and majored in Technical Fields. 

Vienna left her corporate career of 25 years and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and has a background in modeling, commercial work, print campaigns, and tv roles. Vienna had a corporate career, working in Aerospace for companies such as Rolls Royce, and as Head of International Trade Compliance, for the Southeast Asia Region in Singapore. Vienna has been modeling for quite some time and since her relocation to Los Angeles has starred in many commercials such as Gametime “Superstar Moment,”  Floor & Decor “Cooking up a Kitchen Design,”  Paychex “HR Can Be Hard,” Paychex “Makes It Simple,”  Floor & Decor “Grand Opening: South Summerlin’’ and Anderson Windows “Bring New Light.” 

She has also had an extensive career in print advertising, with Haus Labs by Lady Gaga, displayed in nearly 500 stores across the U.S., the eyewear industry, Foster Grant, and skincare brand “Dermalogica’. Other TV roles include, Hallmark’s, “The Holiday Stocking” and BET’s “The Black Hamptons.” Vienna is also a producer known for roles in other movies such as “Equals” and “Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B and B Robbery.” 

Vienna is a breast cancer survivor. She once served as an executive producer on the documentary SUNSHINE, NOODLES, and ME which chronicled her journey of surviving breast cancer. Vienna says, “Once you’ve gone through anything like that, that changes your perspective. And it also makes you more intentional on what you want to do.” 

In closing, Vienna says of her experience in making FREAKY TALES, “I’m so glad I decided to take a leap of faith and pursue a career in acting full time in Los Angeles. It’s been an exciting chapter in my life and I was thrilled to work with such respected directors as Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck on their newest project,” said Vienna.